What is the Truth?
Thank you to hippie7girl for inspiring this series – Some Sort of Series.
What is the truth?
Does the dictionary definition do it justice or is it a skeleton which can only be fleshed out by each of us individually?
What is your definition of the truth?
And does your definition of the truth match other people’s definition of it?
That last question is the one which has caused me the most problems in relationships, and in other areas involving people.
People have often said to me – Tell me the truth – after I’ve done exactly that. This invariably leaves me perplexed, especially if I say to them – But I have told you the truth – and they still don’t accept it for what it is.
How am I supposed to tell them the truth when I’ve already told them the truth?
Do I just repeat what I’ve already said, perhaps using different words?
I realise that the way I express myself can come ‘sometimes’ across as uncertain, the words that I sprinkle in my speech ‘may perhaps’ undermine my certainty, and that ‘seeming’ uncertainty ‘may be’ interpreted by others as due to being reluctant to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In those instances when I know I’m coming across as indefinite, and have confused matters by doing that, I will repeat what I said with a more definite statement.
However, when I have been definite, told the truth, and people appear to reject it as being the truth, then what do I do?
Do I alter the truth, removing the ingredients they don’t like to replace them those they do? Sugarcoat it for those with a sweet tooth?
Am I supposed to invent a truth which will suit them, as somehow the truth I’ve told them is just not suitable as a truth for them?
I have on occasion followed their refusal to accept the truth with a confrontation – I have told you the truth, if the truth is unacceptable to you, please tell me which truth would be acceptable to you and I will see if it is acceptable to me too.
That tactic is one I tend to use if the truth is relevant to the situation, and it is important for it to be accepted or, at the very least, understood that it is my position on the matter at hand. If the truth is not particularly relevant, then I will abstain from this method as it often causes more trouble than is necessary, it can start one of those arguments about the truth which end up solving nothing.
If only this were true. It is in some ways – you don’t have to remember your lies. However, when you tell the truth, you have to remember that other people have different interpretations of the truth.
Some of those who demand the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, from others may be lying to themselves about how much they want the truth. Or, at least, what kind of truth they’re after.
Sometimes what they want is to tell you how much they value the truth, because they like how that sounds when they say it and what it says about them.
However, they’re not really that keen on hearing the truth, unless it’s something which flatters them, which goes with their own thinking, matches their mental colour scheme, and supports their views and opinions.
If they would just say – I want my truth and not your truth – that would go a long way to clarifying matters.
Then there are those who say – Tell me the truth, I want to know the truth even if it hurts me – which always worries me because they’re assuming the truth will hurt, which means that they’re bracing themselves for something awful, painful, nasty, and that attitude isn’t conducive to truth telling or truth hearing.
The sort of people who are convinced that the truth can only hurt are the ones most likely to hurt you with the truth, often with your own truth which may have become distorted in the labyrinth of their minds.
They will have a meltdown at a perceived slight which they’ve found in your truth, accuse you of lying when you’re not… and believe every word you say as gospel when you are lying to them (and they’re the sort of people you tend to lie to, to save yourself from the meltdowns caused by telling them the truth).
They will sometimes use the truth as a weapon of relationship destruction. Then accuse you of not being able to handle the truth. What they actually mean is – See, I told you the truth hurts – as they chop your head off with some awful truth they’ve been brewing and itching to tell you about yourself.
Then they get annoyed with you for bleeding as though fresh wounds inflicted aren’t supposed to bleed – your bleeding is a truth they also don’t want from you as it might make them have to face the truth about what they have just done to you.
Yes, sometimes the truth can hurt, but mostly it’s a relief.
At least I find it to be a relief, like a breath of fresh air blowing away stupor, illusion, confusion, and musty odors.
But then again I grew up in a house of lies. At first I believed everything, but painfully slowly I discovered that everything was a lie, or a truth so heavily disguised that it needed toxic amounts of paint stripper to uncover it.
I was often expected to guess what the truth actually was, like some sort of game show with hints, subtle cues and clues, booby traps hidden behind numbered doors, flashing lights, people shouting and squealing, and a buzzer signalling that I was wrong again and again whether I’d found the truth or not.
In those days it was preferable not to find out the truth, know or tell the truth, as the truth did not set you free, it ensnared you in a knot of pissed off vipers which bit you repeatedly, but their poison never quite killed you.
What is the truth?
That is a question which has become very dear to me, it’s an old friend, a constant companion who keeps me on my toes, encouraging me to investigate my own truths, the truths of others, and the concept of truth itself.
That is partly why my speech contains words of seeming uncertainty. However, I am not as uncertain as I may sound.
I’m open to the possibility that the truth can never be truly known. It can change, just as facts can. Reality evolves as the once flat and now spherical world turns.
Some people still doubt the truth of the shape of this planet, or so I’m told.
Some people believe that what they perceive as my uncertainty of the truth, based on how I express my truth, is a sign that I am easily influenced, that they can manipulate and control me, get me to believe what they want me to believe, perhaps because it is what they believe. The truth is that I am certain of myself in a manner which may be upsetting and unsettling to them.
My mother will never accept that her truth about me is not my truth about myself.
She is one of those people who sees herself as the embodiment of truth, honest to a fault. She could never tell a lie… she recently told the legal system that I was dead (because she needed that to be the truth). In another version she told the legal system that she didn’t know how to contact me (this was also a self-serving truth).
Knowing my mother, she most likely believed her lies were the truth when she told them.
She demanded the truth of others and came down hard on them with a painful fist of judgment when she decided that they were lying (which usually occurred when they told her something she did not want to hear), however, if others questioned the veracity of her truth… they’d get hit by the fist of righteous indignation.
Do I always tell the truth?
I prefer to tell the truth, but, in truth, sometimes telling the truth is not a good idea.
Do I expect others to always tell the truth?
I prefer it when others tell me the truth, but I accept that sometimes they don’t think it’s a good idea.
The truth is relative, and sometimes we have to treat it like a relative with whom you have to live, and you don’t need to know everything and neither do they.
Thank you to M for recommending this film – Horns – it’s a very intriguing exploration of the truth.
What is the truth?
What is your truth about the truth?
Do you worry that others don’t share your view of what the truth is?
Do you ever touch base with someone else to see if you both agree on the definition of truth?
How do you know the truth?